Bassett Lowke 1 inch Scale Flying Scotsman

Published on 1 February 2023 at 19:33

i have built many live steam models over the years in numerous different scales, the largest was a 7 1/4 inch gauge engine called Romulus, the smallest was a 1 inch scale fling scotsman locomotive originally designed by Bassett Lowke in the 1950's. It is the one model that I still to this day regret selling. I sold it to a chap in Cleethorpes that had a model shop, it sold at auction for less than I had hoped and I regretted it the moment it left my premises.


1 inch scale flying scotsman live steam locomotive

From memory the engine with it's tender was about 450mm long, each part was minute and most of it was made on my Peatol micro lathe - if you are in the USA you may know the Peatol as the Taig. Great little machines with an excellent range of extras available, you can't really make something like this without such a machine.

i don't recall how many parts went in to it but it was a lot, each had to be made with absolute precision or it would never work. It was coal fired although I only ever ran mne on compressed air. I just couldn't bring myself t start a fire inside my masterpiece.


1 inch scale flying scotsman loco parts

I had bought this off a guy not far from here, the wheels had already been machined from blanks purchased from Bassett Lowke way back when. A few other bits had been done but I did the bulk of it over many countless hours. A lot of the parts were made from offcuts of brass and steel that had been left over from other jobs. I really enjoyed it and have to say it turned out to be  a really lovely model. 


Bassett Lowke Flying Scotsman motion work

I had all the original drawings although some detail was unclear as by then the paper was about 60 years old and showing it's age. Internet searches filled in the blanks and it was enough to complete the job. This was the very first time I used an airbrush, all my previous models were either brush painted or aerosol sprayed. This was all proper model enamel to the correct shade.


1 inch scale flying scotsman locomotive wheels

I cheated when it came to the numbering and bought water slide transfers of the correct size and font - my skill level does not stretch to that sort of thing and I thought discretion was the better part of valour. I painted the tender first as I thought it would be easier than the engine.


Bassett Lowke flying scotrman tender

The suspension springs are just cast in to the tender frame so they look right but don't function, trying to make working ones in this scale would be watchmaking and I doubt they would work at that size.


Bassett lowke flying scotsman unpainted

I assembled the engine with the paintwork in primer to make sure it was all going to go together and look right. The boiler is actually a cover - the boiler itself is underneath that and made from copper. These days it's nigh on impossible to make these things and get them certified - all the materials have to have traceability and the boiler has to be inspected during construction and then tested after. Despite there never having been recorded incidents of people being harmed by exploding model boilers the EU decided action had to be taken and because no rules existed used the rules that cover pressure cookers. This move almost totally destroyed the hobby, I elected to carry on but just never use my engines in public.


bassett lowke flying scotsman first coat of paint

Once  the basic paint colour had been applied I could add some of the cosmetic bits eg the stanchions and hand rails - fiddly little things, more than one got dropped never to be found again.


bassett lowke flying scotsman inside the cab

To give a better idea of scale here are a few parts next to a 2p piece, it gives some idea of the madness this sort of thing requires. the tw things at the top are steam control valves - each one has a tiny ball bearing inside so that steam can only go one way. The smaller brass bits were just decorative parts for the outside of the boiler.


1 inch scale locomotive parts

I kept the model for maybe a year after I built it. for a while it lived on our mantle piece and then for some reason sat on a window sill in a bedroom for a few months before I decided to sell it. I made a short length of track and a wooden base for it, I think it set it off rather nicely.


completed bassett lowke 1 inch scale flying scotsman locomotive with tender

If I ever had the chance to buy it back I would snap it up.


1 inch scale flying scotsman loco in the workshop

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